Mediterranean Flair

Artichokes give an instant flavor of the Mediterranean. Wow customers with upscale meat toppings, bruschetta and classic Italian pasta dishes. See where to apply them on your menu. Discover seven tips for renegotiating your lease and how to recover from a bad health score.

September 22, 2014 |

Out In The Open

Nick Sarillo, owner of Nick’s Pizza and Pub, takes home $120,000 a year, and he doesn’t care who knows it, including –– and perhaps most importantly –– the 200 full and part-time staffers who work for him. Sarillo, who operates pizzerias in Elgin and Crystal Lake, Illinois, has an open books policy, which means he…Read More

May 27, 2014 |

Eating With The Eyes

Front-of-the-house display cases put ancillary products in customers’ sights Whenever Tony DiSilvestro designs a new YNot Pizza, an endeavor he’s tackled three times since opening his first restaurant in 1993, he encounters the same conundrum: where to put the 28 feet of display cases he says are vital to his business. In each of DiSilvestro’s…Read More

April 28, 2014 |

Carryout: On The Go

When Teresa Corea-Golka’s grandfather started Roma D’Italia in Tustin, California, more than 40 years ago, he wasn’t thinking about creating a carryout concept for his sit-down Italian restaurant. He just wanted happy customers. But Roma D’Italia’s original location only had seating for about 35 guests, and it was the only Italian place around. The restaurant…Read More

March 1, 2012 |

Dough Doctor: Wholesome

Whole-wheat crust requires special handling   Q: We get a lot of requests for a whole-wheat pizza, but all of our attempts to make one end up with dry, hard texture and poor flavor. What is the secret to making a good whole-wheat crust? A: Like so many other things in life, once you know…Read More

March 1, 2012 |

Man on the Street: The Latest Topping Trends

What’s the strangest pizza you’ve ever enjoyed? I’ll never forget an experience I had in an old-school pizzeria in Trenton, New Jersey. The shop, Papa’s Tomato Pies, is the kind of place that would have you arrested for requesting pineapple on your pizza. That’s why I was shocked to see a pie on their menu…Read More

March 1, 2012 |

2012 March: Ask Big Dave

I haven’t updated my menu in a couple of years except for price adjustments. Is it worth it to pay a professional company to do this for me? Austin Rodigero Phoenix, Arizona I’m rarely stopped dead in my tracks. A few years ago, however, I did a double-take as I passed an exhibitor’s booth at…Read More

March 1, 2012 |

2012 March: Commentary

The good folks at International Pizza Expo are making a push to acquire more Twitter followers and Facebook fans. We all know social media is a hot commodity and, really, who in this industry doesn’t want to know what’s going on at the world’s top pizza show? Speaking of hot commodities, is any gift more…Read More

March 1, 2012 |

Marketing: Return On Investment

It’s all about ROI and how to maximize it   There are a variety of gauges a business can use to measure the success of its marketing. But to really measure you must first know your goal. Was it money in the bank, build a database, find a new customer or create TOMA? All are…Read More

March 1, 2012 |

2012 March: In The Know

You receive a notice in the mail that an ex-employee is filing for unemployment. But he quit the company and one doesn’t receive unemployment for that. He wasn’t fired; he wasn’t demoted and sulked off in dejection; he wasn’t harassed into submitting his resignation. Even though you believe that, in these tough times, ex-workers need…Read More

March 1, 2012 |

Deal Breakers

Seven tips for renegotiating your lease   While the recession is coming to an end, many operators are still struggling. The good news? Your landlord is feeling the squeeze, too. According to the National Association of Realtors, retail vacancy rates nationwide were at 12.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011, and retail rents actually…Read More

Amaretti Cookies

March 1, 2012 |

So Sweet!

Creative desserts boost check averages   Gaining a competitive edge in today’s crowded market is more crucial than ever. Diners expect the moon and the stars — preferably locally sourced, homemade and at a great price. Desserts offer a great way to distinguish an independent from the chain restaurant down the street — or from…Read More

March 1, 2012 |

2012 March: Affinity For Artichokes

When G. Terrill Brazelton, head chef at Slice Stone Pizza and Brew in Birmingham, Alabama, developed his pizza menu, including artichokes was a no-brainer. After all, Brazelton grew up eating steamed artichokes from his parent’s California garden. Today, he places artichoke hearts on the “Very Veggie” pizza alongside spinach, mushrooms, Kalamata olives, onions, jalapeños, garlic…Read More

March 1, 2012 |

Bruschetta Basics

Bruschetta (broo-SKEH-tah) has emerged as a very popular appetizer (running a close second to fried calamari). In the Italian repertoire of appetizers, offering bruschetta makes a lot of sense. It’s easy to prepare, it holds well (meaning it can be prepped well ahead) and it can be offered at an attractive price. The food costs…Read More

March 1, 2012 |

Uptown Ingredients, Downtown Flavor

Upscale meat toppings add wow favor   In the beginning — quite a while back, in fact –– it was pepperoni and sausage. Those were the two toppings most requested by patrons of modest, family-owned pizzerias and chain-operated pizza places as well. Here we are some 100 years later and guess what? Sausage and pepperoni…Read More

March 1, 2012 |

Operating a Bar: Serious Business

Dram shop laws, underage drinking, over serving, altercation risk, staffing and training: operating a bar within a pizzeria can be a mess of liability. But managed effectively, a bar can enhance your pizzeria and drive traffic with not only alcohol sales but also food sales. A bar is not something an owner enters into lightly….Read More